A "gaming" smartphone may seem very exciting to enthusiasts, but how can a manufacturer make the average smartphone buyer feel the same way? Asus launched the first ROG Phone (Review) last year, and although it was a good product, the high price was close to Rs. 70,000 at the time meant that you really had to be a passionate gambling addict to use it via an iPhone, Google Pixel, or Samsung Galaxy device. Asus wants to change that with the ROG Phone 2.
While Asus has taken the time to launch this phone in India, we have seen other companies try to enter this niche segment over the year. We now have the Black Shark 2 (review) with a pressure-sensitive display and the Nubia Red Magic 3 (review) with an integrated fan as alternatives to gaming smartphones. However, Asus has left no stone unturned to pursue it. It's pretty much everything you can imagine. The icing on the cake is definitely the price. The ROG Phone 2 starts at Rs. 37,999 in India, not only for gaming fans, but also for everyone who is looking for a strong flagship on a budget.
So, should you consider getting the Asus ROG Phone 2 from the new OnePlus 7T (Review) for the same price? And if you are not a player, does the ROG Phone 2 still make sense? Let's find out.
Asus ROG Phone 2 design
Like the first version, the Asus ROG Phone 2 still has an industrial look, but this time it's a bit tamer. The visible air outlet on the back is smaller and more discreet. The orange highlights for the stereo speakers on the front appear more subtle. and the darker finish makes it look even more stealthy. Nevertheless, this cannot be taken for an ordinary smartphone, especially if the ROG logo lights up on the back.
The ROG Phone 2 is larger and heavier than its predecessor, making it one of the heaviest phones we've had in our hands for some time. It is very thick at 9.48 mm and weighs a whopping 240 g. Weight isn't a big problem when you use it in landscape mode with both hands, but normal one-handed operation quickly tires.
Asus has replaced the capacitive fingerprint sensor on the back with an in-display sensor. Authentication works fine, but we found that we had to rest our fingers there a little longer than usual before this worked. It's not as fast as some of the other in-display sensors we use, like the OnePlus 7T (review). Face detection is much faster and works even at odd angles. The power and volume buttons are low on the right side of the phone and have good feedback.
The left side has an additional USB Type-C port and a custom port for accessories. This Type-C connector supports the USB 3.1 (Gen2) standard, as well as video output with a resolution of up to 4K and Quick Charge 4.0, and can be used for charging when playing in landscape mode. The Type-C connector on the bottom supports USB 3.0 speed and also supports fast charging. The 3.5 mm headphone jack is located at the bottom right so that wired headphones do not interfere with gaming.
The 6.59-inch AMOLED display offers a Full HD + resolution, but impresses with a refresh rate of 120 Hz. It also supports 10-bit HDR and is said to be color-accurate with a Delta-E average of less than 1 his. The maximum brightness is 600nits, and for protection there is Corning Gorilla Glass 6. The display has thick bezels at the top and bottom, but it doesn't make the phone look ugly. The earphone and the lower speaker point forward for a better stereo effect. The double nano SIM tray is on the left, but there is no slot for memory expansion.
The ROG Phone 2 also has the second version of the AirTrigger system from Asus or shoulder buttons on the right side. According to Asus, the algorithm has been redesigned so that you can now put your fingers on it without activating it. There is also a new double vibration system. The phone also uses a 3D steam chamber system for cooling. According to Asus, a total of four Wi-Fi antennas and microphones have been placed at strategic points around the phone, which should provide optimal signal performance no matter how you hold it.
The basic model of the ROG Phone 2 available from us is supplied with an 18 W charger, a Type-C cable, a SIM ejection tool and the aero case. The latter is more like a bumper trim, as only the upper and lower parts have good plastic reinforcements, while the rest of the body has large cutouts for the rear ventilation opening and the logo. According to Asus, this case was designed so that you can use the AeroActive Cooler without removing it. This cooler is an optional accessory. However, if you buy a 512 GB variant, it will be included. The top-end version that costs a hefty Rs. 59.999, also brings you a 30W charger in the box.
You can also get other accessories for the ROG Phone 2, with prices ranging from Rs. 1,999 to Rs. 19,999.
Asus ROG Phone 2 specifications and software
According to Asus, the ROG Phone 2 has been equipped with some of the best components available on the market, including a special Speed-Binned Snapdragon SoC 855+, LPDDR4X-RAM and UFS 3.0 memory. The phone is available in two types of RAM and memory – one with 8 GB RAM and 128 GB memory (Rs 37,999) and the other with 12 GB RAM and 512 GB memory (Rs 59,999). There's a big leap into the high-end variant, and even with the additional accessories, this price seems way too high.
You also get dual-band WiFi according to 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5, NFC, FM radio, the usual selection of sensors, satellite navigation systems and USB OTG. The ROG Phone 2 supports high-resolution audio via the 3.5 mm headphone jack and can decode 192 kHz / 24-bit files. However, this phone does not have some flagship features, such as: B. the IP protection class for water resistance and wireless charging.
Just like the first ROG mobile phone, Asus has put a lot of work into the software this time. You get Android 9 Pie with the August security patch and a custom skin. For the ROG Phone 2, you can choose a vanilla Android theme instead of the standard ROG theme during the installation process. The latter looks cool and you can choose between a dark and a light version. When you turn on X mode, the Asus performance mode, the background image and the highlights around the symbols are given aggressive red accents. If you're not a fan of it, there's always the classic theme to fall back on.
There is not much bloatware when it comes to installed apps. There is an Asus Data Transfer app to move data from your old phone to the ROG Phone 2 and the Armory Crate app, where you configure lighting effects for the logo. monitor the temperatures of the CPU and GPU; Set the power level for AirTrigger etc. The Digital Wellbeing Suite for Android 9 is also available.
You can make further adjustments in the phone settings. With AudioWizard you can select different sound presets. There's an outdoor mode that increases the volume by sacrificing a little bit of sound quality. You can manually choose between 60 Hz, 90 Hz, and 120 Hz refresh rates for the screen, but you cannot switch dynamically between them depending on the activity being performed.
The display colors can be customized. There is a constantly active display mode. and you can choose which icons to display in the status bar. The latter function is very convenient because you can have icons for NFC, X mode, refresh rate etc. in the status bar so you can see what is activated without having to check the toggle buttons in the notification shadow.
The "Advanced" menu in the "Settings" app offers a ton more options for optimizing. With Mobile Manager, you can clear memory, manage data usage, and scan for viruses. Game Genie is a very useful toolbar that you can access within a game to configure AirTrigger, live streams on YouTube, Twitch, etc. There are various touches and gestures, screen capture and one-handed mode. From the AirTriggers menu, you can add & # 39; Squeeze & # 39; gestures for the lower trigger to launch an action or app with a short or long squeeze.
Asus ROG Phone 2 performance and battery life
The size and weight of the ROG Phone 2 take some getting used to. As mentioned before, holding the phone with two hands to play is not a problem, but in most other use cases it gets tired very quickly. However, if you don't mind big, heavy phones, you will probably like it. The glass back is a bit slippery, but the included case makes it easy to hold the phone with one hand. Adding a notification LED near the earpiece is a nice touch.
As you might expect, the ROG Phone 2 is also a real performance animal. The scrolling frequency of 120 Hz makes scrolling through apps and gameplay (in supported games) incredibly fun and smooth. 90Hz is also a pleasant experience if you want to save a bit of electricity, but battery life doesn't matter here, which we'll talk about in a moment. Apps load quickly and multitasking is handled very well. Of course, the main attraction of this phone is gaming, and this is hands down one of the best, if not the best, devices for it.
We released a mix of heavy games like PUBG Mobile and Asphalt 9 Legends, as well as simpler games like Rayman Adventures and Mario Kart, all of which worked perfectly. Even with the 8 GB RAM version of this phone, we were able to switch easily between these games.
Now keep in mind that the back of the phone gets quite warm while playing, especially some places near the side-mounted Type-C connector that get very hot. We recommend playing with the supplied case as you will not feel the heat as much and it offers a better grip. With the AeroCooler II accessory, the heat may be easier to control, but it costs extra and we didn't have any with us for testing.
We didn't feel the need to use X mode most of the time, apart from a few instances in PUBG, when the frame rate started to get a little uneasy. The X mode prevents the CPU from throttling and prevents the speed from dropping below 1.3 GHz. Remember that this will also drain the battery faster. We therefore recommend not to use it unless absolutely necessary.
With Game Genie, you can also enable an overlay in games to monitor frame rate, system temperature, and CPU and GPU usage in real time. Armory Crate allows you to set a custom profile for each game. For example, Rayman Adventures supports a refresh rate of 120 Hz, so you can switch the display to it during the game and return to a lower refresh rate for regular use.
Just like the original ROG Phone, we found that the AirTrigger is extremely helpful in games like PUBG Mobile. The vibrating effect occurs immediately, and you can now put your fingers on it and just apply pressure when you really need to activate it. This reduces the fatigue of your index fingers since you don't have to keep them in the air. When you do this, it's best to increase the pressure required to activate the triggers to prevent accidental activation.
In addition to gaming performance, the display and speakers are two other highlights of this phone. HDR videos look great – the brightness is automatically increased when HDR content is detected and falls back to the level it was when the video was closed. The speakers get very loud and the sound quality is good. The stereo sound is evenly distributed over both channels, with decent bass and a good sound stage. When you use outdoor mode, the sound quality is terrible because only the bass is lowered and the treble is raised, making everything thin and shrill.
The battery life is not only impressive because of the enormous capacity. In our battery loop test, the 6000 mAh battery lasted for about 11 hours and 48 minutes on a screen with 120 Hz and 14 hours and 13 minutes at 60 Hz. These numbers may not look particularly impressive compared to other phones that ran over 20 hours on smaller batteries, but the ROG Phone 2 has exceeded our expectations in practice.
Even when the screen is running at 120 Hz and there is a lot of camera, game and social media usage, we managed to survive a whole day with a single charge. If you play heavy 3D games continuously for two hours with X mode active most of the time and the refresh rate set to 90 Hz, the battery level will decrease by around 27 percent standby time.
The ROG Phone 2 supports several fast charging standards – Qualcomm Quick Charge 4.0 / 3.0 and USB Power Delivery 3.0. With the included 18W charger, we were able to charge 52 percent of the battery in one hour, and it took about two hours to fully charge. This may seem a bit slower than the competition, but keep in mind that this is also a much larger battery than what most others in this price range offer. With the optional 30 W charger (case 1.999) the charging process should be much faster.
Asus ROG Phone 2 cameras
The rear sensors of the ROG Phone 2 correspond to those of the Asus 6Z (test). This phone lacks the laser autofocus sensor, but everything else appears to be identical. The ROG Phone 2 also has a 24-megapixel front camera with an aperture of 1: 2.0, since the 6Z's motorized reversing camera is missing. The 48-megapixel main camera uses the Sony IMX586 sensor with an aperture of 1: 1.79 and PDAF, but without optical stabilization. The second camera uses a wide-angle lens with a 13 megapixel sensor.
The camera app is very functional and offers, among other things, numerous recording modes such as Motion Tracking, Pro and Night. With a switch in the viewfinder you can switch between the normal lens and the wide-angle lens. The latter can be used to record videos, but you cannot switch between cameras while recording.
In daylight, the main camera of the ROG Phone 2 was quite powerful and offered good details and colors. HDR images looked vivid and impressive, with good exposure and white balance. The wide-angle camera recorded slightly weaker details, but HDR was easy to use and landscapes looked good without distorting the barrel. Close-ups also looked good, with sufficient detail and good colors. You can use the camera app to adjust the level of background blur when taking portraits, but edge detection wasn't always accurate enough.
Low-light landscape shots taken with the Asus ROG Phone 2 were a bit grainy, but using night mode helped. The details were still a bit weak and the resulting images were sharpened too much.
The selfie camera recorded fairly detailed selfies with good skin tones during the day, but we noticed slight artifacts in the background and the edges of our faces could have been sharper. The screen flash is quite effective in low light conditions and provides good lighting. The portrait mode with the front camera is available, but the final output looks somewhat artificial.
The quality of the video in daylight was also impressive. The electronic stabilization worked very well even with 4K resolution and details and colors were well presented. Selfie videos were also stabilized and the quality was equally good. The phone stalled a little in low light conditions because the video was a bit grainy and the electronic stabilization caused slight distortion when moving.
The Asus ROG Phone 2 is solid hardware and definitely the most elegant and impressive gaming phone we've seen so far. Some functions are missing, such as sealing and wireless charging, but at Rs. 37,999, these things are no big cracks. The high-end version feels too expensive at almost Rs. 60,000 even with the huge dent in the memory and the rolled up accessories. A price of around Rs. 50,000 would have been more accessible.
The OnePlus 7T (Review) is one of the main competitors for the basic version of the ROG Phone 2. It is a solid offer for Android 10 and has a good camera set and a fast 90 Hz display. If you are not enthusiastic about the weight of the ROG Phone 2, the OnePlus 7T is a good alternative.
However, if you are looking for a cell phone, the Asus ROG Phone 2 is one of the best on the market. 40,000. Even if you're not a gamer, the vivid display and stereo speakers make this device an excellent multimedia device if you can take on the masses.